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Tuesday 21.05.2019 | Name days: Ingmārs, Ernestīne, Akvelīna
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BNN summary of the week: government formation in Latvia, Brexit plans, and Latvia’s 100th birthday

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUIf someone hoped to see Latvia compile a government before the national holiday, they are going to be disappointed – three parties have decided to exit government formation talks headed by New Conservative Party. NCP’s prime minister candidate Jānis Bordāns receive criticism for having too ambitious and expensive goals. NCP, on the other hand, says parties did not try to study the party’s offers.

Now it seems the national holiday will pass with talks from political parties, while President Raimonds Vējonis decides between nominating either Aldis Gobzems or Artis Pabriks as Latvia’s next prime minister.

The situation was tense abroad as well this week – criticizing Brexit agreement, British Prime Minister Theresa May’s office lost four members, thereby increasing the number of ministers who have left the office in the past two years to twenty.

Still, the week in Latvia will conclude on a festive note, after all – the country celebrates 100 years since its foundation. This date marks a milestone for Latvia’s accomplishments and look towards the future. Congratulations!

PRIORITIES: EP says Moldova and Georgia should continue initiated reforms

Members of the European Parliament welcome the reforms Georgia has commenced. At the same time, Moldova was criticized for its worsened state of democracy and rule of law, as reported by EP press-secretary in Latvia Signe Znotiņa-Znota.

The European Parliament approved two resolutions, in which implementation of associations agreements with Moldova and Georgia are covered, says Znotiņa-Znota.

MEPs welcome the reforms implemented by Georgia and the progress achieved with the association agreement. It is stressed that EU has become Georgia’s largest trade partners and the largest source of direct foreign investments.

This is why MEPs invite Georgian authorities to ensure stability and continuation of reforms to improve residents’ economic and social conditions. High levels of corruption in the country, problems with independence of the court justice system, human rights, use of media for political purposes and nature protection remain the chief concerns when it comes to Georgia, the resolution mentions.

MEPs also regretted seeing Russia continue occupying territories that belong to Georgia. MEPs once again voiced support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Full article here

ORDER: Latvian president gives parties holiday break to continue talks

Latvian President Raimonds Vējonis calls off nomination of NCP candidate Jānis Bordāns to for government. Talks regarding the next prime minister candidate will continue after the state holiday.

«I expect parties to use this time to continue consultations and look for common ground,» said the president.

Immediately after the holiday Vējonis will meet with KPV LV prime minister candidate Aldis Gobzems and Attīstībai/Par! prime minister candidate Artis Pabriks to discuss with them their vision for the government formation process.

The order with which the president’s nomination of Bordāns is void will be signed by Vējonis on Thursday, 15 November.

The President’s Chancellery admits that Bordāns informed the president about the progress with the formation of the government on Wednesday, 14 November. He admitted no longer seeing any options to form the government and secure majority Saeima support.

Full article here

CORRUPTION: Lithuania’s corruption buster: firms donating to hospitals stand better chance in tenders

The majority of the winners of the tenders organised by major Lithuanian hospitals have expressed their gratitude to the health providers by making donations to them in the form of financial support.

The scheme spans at least 10 major Lithuanian hospitals, including the Santaros Clinics in Vilnius, the Kaunas Clinics in Kaunas, Lithuania’s second-largest city, and the main hospitals in the towns of Panevėžys and Šiauliai. The corrupt dealings were revealed this by Lithuania’s Special Investigation Service (STT) this week.

According to it, supporters of hospitals or related associations have a clear edge in winning public procurement tenders. There have been a number of cases of the kind, according to STT.

That Lithuanian hospitals favour certain suppliers has long been a topic of the rumour mill, and the media too, however only now STT, the corruption watchdog, is ringing alarm bells.

Asked about the timing, Renata Endružytė, the Communications head of the Service, told BNN that STT commences a probe only when it has gathered «sufficient evidence” of a corrupt activity.

«The Service has been gathering the evidence in form of different data for the last couples of years,» she accentuated.

Full article here

DESIRE: Latvian parties pick candidates to work in Saeima committees

Parties elected to the 13th Saeima have picked representatives to work in the parliament’s standing committees. Final decision will be made 20 November. Harmony may be represented by deputies Nikolajs Kabanovs and Jānis Tutins in Saeima’s Foreign Affairs Committee. Attīstībai/Par! has picked Artis Pabriks, and Union of Greens and Farmers has picked Uldis Augulis.

New Unity will be represented by Ojārs Ēriks Kalniņš, National Alliance ‘All for Latvia’ – ‘For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK’ – Rihards Kols and Dace Melbārde, KPV LV – Didzis Šmits, and New Conservative Party – Linda Ozola.

For the National Security Committee Harmony has picked Valērijs Agešins, AP – Daniels Pavļuts, UGF – Māris Kučinskis, New Unity – Inese Lībiņa-Egnere, National Alliance – Ināra Mūrniece, KPV LV – Aldis Gobzems, and NCP – Juris Jurašs.

Harmony has also picked Vjačeslavs Dombrovskis, Igors Pimenovs and Ļubov Švecova to represent the party in the Budget and Finance (Taxation) Committee, AP has picked Mārtiņš Bondars and Juris Pūce, UGf has picked Dana Reizniece-Ozola and Janīna Jalinska, New Unity – Edgars Rinkēvičs, National Alliance – Ilze Indriksone and Aleksandrs Kiršteins, KPV LV – Ramona Petraviča and Atis Zakatistovs, NCP – Gatis Eglītis and Reinis Znotiņš.

For the Legal Affairs Committee Harmony has picked Agešins and Jūlija Stepaņenko, AP – Vita Anda Tēraude, UGF – Gundars Daudze, New Unity – Lībiņa-Egnere, National Alliance – Ritvars Jansons, KPV LV – Ralfs Nemiro and Gobzems, NCP – Juta Strīķe and Jānis Bordāns.

Full article here

BREXIT: British government loses two more members; EU sets date for Brexit summit

In the UK government, Brexit minister Dominic Raab and Northern Ireland’s junior minister have resigned in disagreement with the country’s draft withdrawal agreement with the EU, already passed by the government.

Britain’s main opposition Labour Party said on Thursday Prime Minister Theresa May had no authority left after her Brexit minister Dominic Raab resigned.

French news agency AFP reported that Raab, who had been in place since July, resigned less than an hour after Shailesh Vara quit as a junior Northern Ireland minister over the draft accord.

British-Canadian news agency Reuters cited an announcement by the team of the British Labour Party’s leader Jeremy Corbyn as evaluating: «This is the twentieth minister to resign from Theresa May’s government in her two year premiership. Theresa May has no authority left and is clearly incapable of delivering a Brexit deal that commands even the support of her Cabinet – let alone parliament and the people of our country».

British public broadcaster BBC reported that head of the European Union Council, Donald Tusk stated on Thursday, that member states would have 48 hours to evaluate the draft agreement and their leaders would then convene on November 25 to give their final approval «if nothing extraordinary happens».

Full article here

CELEBRATION:

This year Latvia celebrates its one hundredth birthday. The Republic of Latvia was proclaimed in Riga City Second Theatre, which is now known as Latvia’s National Theatre, on 18 November 1918.

Residents and guests to the country, as well as people all over the world congratulate Latvia. Canada has even decided to light the Niagara Falls with colours of Latvia’s flag. The team at BNN also extends their heartfelt congratulations to every person in the world who finds Latvia dear!


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  1. Günther Tombal/The Netherlands says:

    I wish Latvia all the best for the future and hope it will bring happiness and
    prosperity to its people !

Raising minimal income level in Latvia would require EUR 28 million

Latvia’s Welfare Ministry has developed a Plan to improve minimal income support system in 2020-2021. In it, the ministry details that the plan’s implementation requires approximately EUR 28 million, as informed by the ministry’s social inclusivity department’s director Elīna Celmiņa.

Estonia investigates electricity blackout in Russian border city

In Estonia, an investigation has been opened into a power blackout that took place in the north-eastern border city of Narva and other places in the region.

Latvia’s Saeima to pick a new state president after EP elections

Saeima’s Praesidium and Faction Council decided on 20 May to keep the State President’s Election Day unchanged – it will happen 29 May.

Study: packaging convenience still trumps environment friendliness

For Latvian residents convenience of packages remains the most important factor. However, environment friendliness is gradually becoming more and more important for people, according to results of a study by Immer Group.

Harmony reportedly used RTDB to hire foreign political communication specialists

Latvian investigators have acquired documents that reveal how prior to 13th Saeima elections Riga Tourism Development Bureau (RTDB), which receives funding from Riga’s budget, had performed at least ten money transfers to several political communication experts from Germany, Sweden and Spain, as reported by public broadcaster TV3 programme Nekā personīga.

Ukraine’s Zelensky starts presidency with dissolution of parliament

Ukraine’s new President Volodymyr Zelensky has been sworn in Kyiv on Monday and in his inaugural speech has announced the dissolution of the Ukrainian parliament.

Austria heading to snap election after right-wing coalition collapses

Austrian political leaders are favouring calling a snap election after the government coalition in Vienna collapsed over alleged influence peddling by Vice-Chancellor.

Egypt bomb attack hits tourist bus

17 tourists in Egypt have been wounded in a bomb explosion near the landmark Giza pyramids.

Latvian Railways reportedly wastes money with self-promotion in sports; UGF might be involved

Last year and at the beginning of this year, Latvian Railways spent at least two million euros on self-promotion. A considerable portion of this money was provided to sports organizations, of which multiple have ties with the Union of Greens and Farmers, as reported by public broadcaster Latvian Television programme De Facto.

In spite of heavy rains, air temperature in Latvia will reach +29° C this week

The sky will be cloudy at the beginning of this week in Latvia. Nevertheless, it will clear from time to time. As the sky clears, daytime air temperature will reach +24° C… +29° C, as reported by Latvia’s Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Week in Lithuania: PM clears no-confidence vote, top Court slaps LFGU, councillor fined for slander

Last week, Lithuania suffered upset in 2019 Eurovision Song Contest; PM Saulius Skvernelis survived a vote of no-confidence by the ruling LFGU; the Constitutional Court ruled that the Seimas breached law in dealing with public broadcaster LRT.

BNN summary of the week: shadow over Latvia's economy; Kalnmeiers receives bashing

The week passed in Latvia under certain unpleasant news. A study concluded that in spite of Union of Green and Farmers minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola’s praised tax reform the grey economy proportion in Latvia has increased.

Regional Ventas Balss newspaper’s editor punished for reporting false news

On 17 May, Riga City Vidzeme Suburb Court found Ventas Balss newspaper’s editor Gundega Mertena guilty of reporting false news in the article «Material 'Confession of Lembergs’ troll' is a 100% made-up story», which was published on pietiek.com portal on23 September 2018.

Court enforces 1 000 euros from Ušakovs for Riga City Council deputy

Riga City Vidzeme Suburb Court has declined suspended Mayor of Riga Nils Ušakovs plea against Riga City Council deputy Vilnis Ķirsis over supposedly offensive statements the latter made against the plaintiff.

Latvian minister proposes re-assessing prosecutor general’s professionalism

Latvia’s Justice Ministry has noticed signs that suggest Prosecutor General Ēriks Kalnmeiers is not fit to remain in his post, as there are suspicions regarding his reputation, Justice Minister Jānis Bordāns told journalists on 17 May.

Estonia’s Nordica ended 2018 with EUR 2 million in losses

Estonia’s national air carrier registered considerable losses in 2018, reaching EUR 2,3 million in unconsolidated losses.

U.S.-pardoned whistle-blower Manning sent back to prison

A United States grand jury has ordered back to confinement Chealsea Manning, the former American military intelligence analyst, who spent seven years in prison in a Wikileaks-related case before being released by the decision of former U.S.

Privatization Agency: Latvian Railways chairman is baselessly speculating about privatization

«A lot of speculations and incorrect statements containing the word ‘privatization’ are coming from Latvian Railways (LDz) board chairman Edvīns Bērziņš. He is trying to divert attention in his corporate conflict away from the company board’s relations with shareholders,» BNN was told by Privatization Agency (PA) board chairman Vladimirs Loginovs.

International police effort dismantles GozNym gang of cyber criminals

An international criminal network that used GozNym malware in an attempt to steal an estimated USD 100 million from more than 41 000 victims, mostly businesses and their financial institutions, has been dismantled in a joint police operation.

Prediction: Latvia’s new concert hall will recover investments in 15 years

In the first 15 years after construction of Latvia’s new National Acoustic Concert Hall it will earn Latvia’s national economy a total of EUR 107.6 million, fully compensating investments and creating additional profits of EUR 17.6 million.

Poland fights child abuse with prison sentences up to 30 years

Polish legislators have extended prison terms for convicted paedophiles to a maximum 30 years. The Catholic country’s child abuse scandals have been underscored by a new documentary on such crimes by Polish priests.

Money intended for child protection used instead to pay bonuses to officials in Latvia

Welfare Ministry’s allocated state budget funding of EUR 619 000 was used, among other things, to pay bonuses to officials for obvious everyday tasks even though initially it was implied that employees of the ministry and State Child Protection Inspectorate (SCPI) would perform some specific tasks to prevent child and family abuse.

Meteorologists promise air temperature will soon reach +26° C in Latvia

On Friday, 17 May, there will be plenty of sun and clouds. Western regions may experience some rainfall. Wind will draw in from the east, reaching 13 m/sec in Kurzeme, as reported by Latvia’s State Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Construction commences in Estonian-Latvian 3rd interconnection project

By raising the first supports of the new high-voltage Estonian-Latvian 3rd interconnection, Latvia’s Augstsprieguma tīkls (AST) has commenced the next step in the high-voltage power line project for a new 330 kV power line from Riga TEC-2 all the way to Kilingi-Nõmme substation in Estonia, as confirmed by AST.

Riga Tourism Development Bureau may have caused damages worth EUR 300 000

As a result of criminal activities Riga Tourism Development Bureau has caused damages worth no less than EUR 300 000, according to initial estimates.

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